Salute Part 1

Salute is past once again and I have made my annual pilgrimage up to London. The show, run by the South London Warlords is in its 41st year. I’ve been attending since 1990, which made this show my 23rd Salute, incredible when I think about it.

I still remember the old days at Kensington Town Hall with its long corridors and tightly packed rooms. I have a strange fondness for the Salutes of old, good times! The show grew and changed venue, to Olympia, where it spent a few years. In fact, if you read a copy of the first Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy and turn to the first article, there is a piece on Salute 2003 with a picture of me (with several others including my good friend Paul Houghton) running the El Cid game of that year. Is that coincidence or destiny even? I’ll put it firmly down to the former, coincidence!

The move to ExCel offered a large venue and everything on one floor (ok apart from the toilets!), which seems to have solved the previous issues of space previous shows suffered from. It is a good venue but lacks some of the character of the old venues. ExCel has the look of an aircraft hanger, but to be fair I’m looking back with nostalgia at the old venues. The ‘new’ venue (I’m not too sure if I can call it ‘new’ anymore as the show has been here for several years) is good without doubt.

Salute remains the premier UK show, at least if numbers, games and traders are combined. There are more cosy shows (such as Partizan, a favourite of mine) but Salute takes the crown for the place to have one mad annual celebration to all that is good in the hobby or just an excuse to buy lots of stuff!

This year’s theme was Jason and the Argonauts, complete with a plastic Greek Jason with recently slain dragon head. I hope to pick up a copy of the model just to see what it’s like. Ok, it’ll make a good addition to my Greek collection…

I didn’t see much of the show. My job requires all of my attention, so my mad days of old – shopping and discovering the delightful myriad of games – are truly over. In fact I have a joke – when asked “How is Salute for you Guy?” I usually answer “I hear there’s a show on but I can’t say I’ve seen anything of it yet!” This is actually very true both for me and the vast number of traders and game volunteers, who man their posts loyally and miss out on the rest of the show. 

I was still excited to go, although my shopping list consisted of getting reviews for the magazine and picking up stuff for other people. I did get five minutes to have a sneak look around, but I also forgot what I needed to pick up for myself! Ah well… roll on next year!

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